Book Reviews

Book Review: Buster’s Ears Trip Him Up: When You Fail (Welch/Hox)

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book review buster's ears trip him up ed welch good book co

Buster’s Ears Trip Him Up: When You Fail is the third book in the Good News For Little Hearts series. The story creator is Jocelyn Flenders who has a background in intercultural studies and counseling. Ed Welch, the editor, is a biblical counselor and faculty member at CCEF. He has written many excellent books on addictions, fear shame, and more. Joe Hox has illustrated the other two books in this series. You can view his style at his website.

Main Story

The story here centers around a bunny, Buster, who comes from a family of four. Buster knows he can run quickly, faster than any other kid. He’s excited to go to camp because he knows he will win the big race. He and his older sister Ivy race to Camp Greenwood and meet Miss Parker and the rest of the kids. Buster knows he is the fastest, he knows he will win the race, and he doesn’t mind letting everyone know. But then his ears get in the way, he trips, tumbles and falls.

What really stood out to me in this book was how Welch described how Buster felt after his tumble. “He remembered how he told everyone how fast he was—how he’d surely win the race. What would they think of him now? The weight of it all seemed to hold him down. He could not get up.” This is exactly how it feels. Welch is able to put into words how embarrassment physically feels—a feeling a six-year-old wouldn’t know how to express (at least not in this way).

After the tumble, Buster has a long talk with his older sister Ivy, who explains that “winning or losing a race isn’t the most important thing. The important thing is that you are still loved by Jesus. And his love never fails.” When Buster doesn’t know how he’ll ever face his friends again, Ivy gives a personal example of how she gave a speech in front of her class, but, giving it on the wrong topic, was terribly embarrassed. She was prideful, and it blew up in her face. But Jesus forgives. There is more to be said, but this is the main gist. (I can’t spoil everything.)

The book ends with eight ways to help your child with failure. They help give parents direction on what to say to their children, such as talking about pride, having the wrong goal, turn to Jesus and confess their sin, living in God’s kingdom, and more. There are four back-pocket Bible verses that can be cut out of the book and given to your child to carry around.


Joe Hox did an excellent job in this book. There is plenty of color. The animals display emotions well, so it’s always plain what they are feeling, and the environments, from inside the house, to the forest (and its sunlight), to the school classroom, to the lake in the background of of the campsite, the backgrounds are well made. Even though Micah doesn’t understand what’s going on, he enjoys flipping through the pages and looking at the pictures.

book review buster's ears trip him up ed welch good book co

The Spoiled Milk: Grammatical Mistakes

Capitalizing. In the first paragraph on page 12 (a guesstimate) when the campers are prepared for the race, Miss Parker says, “Good morning, Camp Greenwood. Please listen carefully.” The next sentence begins with “each camper,” but “each” is not capitalized.

Commas. On the bottom of page 14 when Buster’s ear covers his eyes, the text says, “He could not get it off, and everything went black.” The red comma indicates where a comma should have been placed (because of the two independent clauses). This happens again on the next page “Everything went silent, and everyone stopped to stare.”

To too. In the third paragraph on page 22, Ivy says, “I’d love too.” Too should be to. A common grammatical oversight.

This is really my only complaint. There aren’t many of these, but they are odd (and disappointing) to see. The rest of the book is great!

book review buster's ears trip him up ed welch good book co


Failure is constant throughout life, as trial and error is how we learn. Yet in a world of performance and “TV perfection,” our failings feel obvious to everyone around us, and we wish we’d never even tried. Failing starts young. Babies need to learn to crawl, walk, sit up on their own, and to eat properly. And they need to try again and again before they can do it well. But they do that with over-enthusiastic parents around. As they grow and go to school, kids are less enthusiastic to help each other in their failings and more likely just to point and laugh. This is one book well-suited to help children move through failure. They will trip and fall. They will mess up their words, forget, be awkward. And they can be prideful and arrogant. But Jesus offers them love, forgiveness, and the ability to love the other kids around them. Highly recommended.

  • Series: Good News for Little Hearts (Book 3)
  • Author: Edward Welch
  • Illustrator: Joe Hox
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Age Range: 5-11 years
  • Publisher: New Growth Press (October 8, 2018)
  • Read a sample

Find it on Amazon and New Growth Press!

Disclosure: I received this book free from New Growth Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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